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Elkhart instrument maker donates flute to talented student

It was a chance meeting between two high school musicians; Concord senior Jessika Bollero and Bloomington North student Josh Clampitt, that left him nearly speechless Friday morning as he picked up a flute made for him by Elkhart musical instrument maker Emerson DeFord. DeFord heard about Clampitt's talent from Bollero's private music teacher, Susan Chilberg of Elkhart, after Bollero told her how good Clampitt was.

Posted on May 15, 2010 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on May 15, 2010 at 5:29 p.m.

ELKHART -- It was a chance meeting between two high school musicians; Concord senior Jessika Bollero and Bloomington North student Josh Clampitt, that left him nearly speechless Friday morning as he picked up a flute made for him by Elkhart musical instrument maker Emerson DeFord.

DeFord heard about Clampitt's talent from Bollero's private music teacher, Susan Chilberg of Elkhart, after Bollero told her how good Clampitt was.

Teacher Chilberg got to hear Clampitt for herself at the Indiana State School Music Association solo and ensemble contest in February. Chilberg was amazed at Clampitt's talent, especially after learning his flute was "kind of beat up."

Clampitt's original plan, she said, was to work to buy the instrument's individual parts one at a time.

Chilberg prayed about Clampitt's quest for a new flute and in March she placed a call to DeFord.

"We were able to get something of a miracle," said Chilberg, as she listened to Clampitt play his new flute, presented by DeFord, 82, who has been making flutes for 61 years.

He tried to retire about five years ago, but after two weeks he was back in production. DeFord still makes one to two flutes per week, and while business is slow he decided to donate a flute to Clampitt after Chilberg vouched for his talent.

"She says he's got all kinds of talent and a kind of junk flute. I just figured it was time to do something for him if we could," said DeFord.

Clampitt and his mother drove from Bloomington to pick up the solid silver flute, "with a lot of extras," worth roughly $3,000. Most student flutes assembled by DeFord cost around $250.

Clampitt, who's currently taking composition classes at Indiana University, played his new flute at DeFord's Lusher Avenue factory, saying, "I'm so excited. Thank you so much."


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